How To View Your Command History in the Command Prompt on a Windows PC
The Command Prompt program is one of the most helpful tools on any Windows computer. It allows users to modify their settings and control their computer’s behavior. However, depending on the operating system version you’ve installed, it may not be the most user-friendly program. Consequently, you might struggle to access your Command Prompt history.
Fortunately, you can resolve this issue in just a few clicks, regardless of whether your computer runs on Windows 10 or 11.
Keep reading to learn more.
Checking the Command Prompt History on a Windows 10 PC
The Command Prompt on Windows 10 computers only records data about the active session. So, if you’ve executed a few commands and accidentally rebooted your PC, you won’t be able to view those commands using the Command Prompt. This issue has long frustrated Windows users, and Microsoft has yet to release a long-term solution.
There are two ways you can access your Command Prompt history on Windows 10. The first involves a keyboard shortcut, while the second uses a simple command line.
Check Command History With Keyboard Shortcut
If you’re in a time crunch, you can trust your keyboard to help your retrieve your Command Prompt history for the current session. Here’s what you need to do:
- Launch the Command Prompt and execute a few commands in the window.
- Hold the F7 key to open the list of commands you’ve run recently.
- Scan the list and press the one you want to execute again.
- Click on “Enter.”
This is a handy trick when working with new command lines you still haven’t memorized. Another way you can use the Command Prompt to find specific commands is by searching the command history. The process is relatively straightforward. Make sure you remember at least part of the line to narrow down your search quickly. The below instructions will help you complete the task:
- Make sure the Command Prompt window is still open.
- Hit the F7 key to bring up the command history and press F8.
- Type what you remember from the command and press F8 again.
- If you’re dissatisfied with the result, you can press F8 once more to view another entry.
Another benefit of accessing the Command Prompt history is quickly running saved commands. Instead of typing them repeatedly, you can use the history to execute them as often as you like in less time. The steps below will walk you through the process:
- Open the Command Prompt window, run the appropriate commands, and access the history.
- Scan the list until you find the desired entry, and remember the number at the start of the line.
- Press the F9 key and type the number of the command you want to repeat.
- Tap “Enter” to complete the action.
Check Command History With Doskey
You can also use a command to access the Command Prompt history on your Windows 10 computer. Most users have little difficulty using this method. Here’s what you need to do:
- Launch the Command Prompt from the Start menu and type the following the pop-up window: “
- Press “Enter.”
- The commands you’ve executed in the active session will appear in the Command Prompt window.
- Examine your history and select the appropriate command using the “Up” and “Down” arrows.
- Hit “Enter” to repeat the command.
If for some reason, the arrows on your keyboard aren’t working correctly, you can copy the command from the retrieved history. Paste it into the Command Prompt window and press “Enter” to rerun it.
Unfortunately, when your restart your computer, Windows will wipe your command history from the program and restart it for the new session. If you’ve run some useful commands you want to save for future use, you can resolve this issue by storing the command history as a TXT file. Follow the below steps to do so:
- Launch the Command Prompt and view your command history.
- Enter “
doskey /HISTORY > history.txt” in the Command Prompt window.
This action will save the history as a TXT file in your Windows Users folder.
The easiest way to clear your command history is by restarting your computer. But if you want to keep using the program, you can press “Alt + F7” to wipe data from the current session.
Checking the Command Prompt History on a Windows 11 PC
Windows 11 features Terminal, the upgraded console program. However, many who have used Windows computers for years still prefer to work with Command Prompt rather than with PowerShell or Terminal.
You can view your command history on a Windows 11 computer in two ways. First, you can use the F7 key. Or, you can run the “doskey” command.
Check Command Prompt History With Keyboard Shortcut
The F7 shortcut will help you access your command history in no time. Follow the instructions below to do so:
- Press the “Start” button.
- Type “Command Prompt” in the search bar and select the top result.
- Hit the “F7” key.
This action will generate a graphical interface displaying a list of commands you’ve executed during the current session. Note that the list will contain even mistyped commands.
As you’re viewing your history, use the “Up” and “Down” arrows on your keyboard to choose the command you want to rerun.
When you’re ready to move on, select the “Esc” key to close the window.
Check Command Prompt History With Doskey
The “doskey” command can recall previously executed commands, edit command lines, and even create macros in the Command Prompt program. To use it to check your command history, follow the steps below:
- Press the “Start” button.
- Enter “Command Prompt” in the search bar and tap the top result to launch the program.
- Type the following the Command prompt Window: “
- Hit “Enter.”
Your current history should appear onscreen.
With this method, you can’t select commands as easily as with the F7 key. But you can use the following keyboard shortcuts to review your history and rerun already executed commands.
You can also export the command history and store it in a folder for quick access. The next time you struggle to remember the exact command, just check the document to refresh your memory. Here’s what you need to do to save your command history:
- Click “Start” and type “Command Prompt” in the search bar.
- Pick the top result to open the program and select “Run as Administrator.”
- Enter the following line on the app window: “
doskey /h >c:\cmd_history.txt“
- Press “Enter.”
Make sure to replace “
doskey /h > c:\cmd_history.txt” with the name and path of the folder where you’ll keep the exported history.
What’s the difference between Terminal and Command Prompt?
Both programs are command-line shells that can troubleshoot errors and manage system maintenance. However, the Command Prompt is more user-friendly and suitable for day-to-day tasks. On the other hand, Terminal has more advanced functions and allows users to run several tasks or work on multiple projects simultaneously.
Your Wish Is the Command Prompt’s, Well, Command
Although some users feel uncomfortable tinkering with the Command Prompt, fearing they’ll cause software issues, retrieving your command history is relatively quick and easy. You can use the F7 key to access this information or run the “doskey” command. Remember that the program only displays data from the current session, so it might be a good idea to save your command history on your computer for quick access.
Have you searched for your command history before? Which of the above methods did you use? Let us know in the comments section below.